On Sunday, during announcements in church, I’m distracted by a butterfly fluttering high on a wall of stained glass windows in the balcony. Sun streams through each colorful shard illuminating cabernet to cherry, gold to lemon, navy to sapphire. The butterfly is drawn to light as the pathway to freedom.
The longer I watch a silhouette of wings dust the glass I realize what I’m witnessing is the continuation of what He began whispering just minutes after my alarm went off.
A few hours before arriving at church, I lay cocooned in bed under covers, holding my phone above my head, scrolling through Facebook when I stop on a photograph that captures my attention. A friend’s mother wearing a sweater imprinted with butterflies. It feels significant somehow.
And then I remember.
On August 19, my son’s 15th birthday, I wrote these words to my friend Lynn in and email. “It seems everything is on hold, life is frozen and it feels as though I may crack.”
It was my response to the first of many delays in getting to London over seven months.
Lynn wrote these words back to me, “You are being protected in the chrysalis. It is a safe place. You will not crack, but the chrysalis will split at just the right time and you will emerge to take flight. All is being readied.
The chrysalis–the in-between place–is a time of preparation. You can’t rush it. You don’t know God’s full plan or timing. If the chrysalis is split prematurely, your wings will be disabled. The chrysalis is a safe place, a place of rest, a place where He is forming you in order that you will be ready for your final destination and flight.
Take hope. God is shaping you and He is arranging beautiful colors and colorful experiences. He is asking you to trust Him in the chrysalis “soup,” when the way seems murky. This won’t last forever, and everything will suddenly crack open (you will not crack up!), and you will spread your wings and take flight–straight across the ocean.”
After church, I engage with a new friend from Lithuania when I notice in my peripheral vision someone waiting to speak to me. Turning around, I greet a young woman wearing a backpack. She smiles and introduces herself.
The accent is American; her name and countenance, familiar.
Twenty years ago, I knew her as a little girl lighting up the hallways with her presence at Valley Cathedral in Phoenix, the church where H and her father were pastors together. She is travelling through London, navigating the city on her own to find us at St. Barnabas on Sunday.
A piece of the past surprises us in the present on the same morning H uses a sermon illustration that happened at Valley Cathedral two decades ago. A story I had forgotten about.
But Jesus doesn’t forget the details because He is present within them.
When you are tempted to think your days are checked off as inconsequential until the moment your life becomes significant, may I remind you that in Christ there are no throw away moments. No random intersections with people or places.
God knows what you think before you think it. The details reveal the beauty of His presence in the process of preparation.
In hues of paint, the view you see through your window; in rogue butterflies trapped inside a church and the stream you’ll see when you open Facebook. In people who surprise you from the past on the day He knows it will be most meaningful.
If you are in the uncomfortable place of the chrysalis, remember we are all beautiful butterflies in the process of salvation.
It turns out Lynn’s words were prophetic. Take hope, His timely release is a flight worth the wait.
Seek the Light; it is the pathway to freedom.